Police on campuses in the California State University system will not help federal officials enforce immigration law, the chancellor reminded students in a memo Wednesday.
Chancellor Timothy White emailed students, staff and alumni of the CSU system including those at San Diego State University to say the system’s policy regarding immigration enforcement has not changed regardless of a recent directive from Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
Millions of people living in the United States illegally could be targeted for deportation — including people simply arrested for traffic violations — under a sweeping rewrite of immigration enforcement policies the Trump administration announced Tuesday.
“Our university police departments will not honor immigration hold requests,” White said. “[Campus police] will not contact, detain, question or arrest individuals solely on the basis of being - or suspected of being – a person who lacks documentation."
While calling the new federal directive “complex” and informing CSU staff and students that he is reviewing the potential impact, White also said the university system will not partner with law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law.
“We do advise any member of our CSU community – students, faculty and staff – who is approached while on campus by federal, state or local officials asking for information or documentation regarding immigration status, to immediately contact the University Police Department,” his memo states.
Campus police will then serve as a liaison, White said.
White also assured students under the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that the new DHS direction does not affect them.
Read the entire email here.
San Diego State University's Vice President for Student Affairs Eric Rivera also issued a statement offering information for undocumented immigrants who may have concerns.
A student’s immigration status is considered part of the educational records and is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), he writes said.
"All members of the campus community should respect the privacy and sensitivity of these matters," Rivera said.
He offered services of SDSU's Office of Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) as well as Counseling and Psychological Services to those concerned about themselves or their families.
Read Rivera's entire email here.
According to Homeland Security Department memos signed by Kelly, any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offense, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor offenses — or simply having crossed the border illegally.
Under the Obama administration guidance, immigrants whose only violation was being in the country illegally were generally left alone. Those immigrants fall into two categories: those who crossed the border without permission and those who overstayed their visas.
Crossing the border illegally is a criminal offense, and the new memos make clear that those who have done so are included in the broad list of enforcement priorities.
Overstaying a visa is a civil, not criminal, offense. Those who do so are not specifically included in the priority list but, under the memos, they are still more likely to face deportation than they had been before.